Undersea cable cuts cause minor disruption

It was about 2 and a half years ago that Pakistan’s only major link to the rest of the world, the SMW3 cable, was cut just off of Pakistan’s coast. We suffered cripplingly slow Internet connectivity for over 2 weeks and it was a major setback to the growing call center market and the young hi-tech industry of the country.

This time around, there were multiple cuts on both the SEA-ME-WE-4 (South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 4) and FLAG circuits, somewhere off the coast of Egypt. This time, the damage was on an even bigger scale and left millions in the Middle East without Internet access while also causing disruption in India and Pakistan. It is estimated that it’ll take weeks to fully restore the circuit.

However, I’m glad that Pakistan learned something from the last outage and we now have better redundancy. Internet access only slowed to a crawl for a couple of hours yesterday, right after the cut. It doesn’t even feel like anything is wrong today and this is true for two of the major ISPs that I’m getting my service from.

We are increasingly relying on the net for business, news, entertainment and a lot more and it is the sole provider for a number of us in the tech sector. Though it’s good to see that we’re better prepared, the fact that something as simple as a wrongly anchored ship can bring cause disruption for weeks is frightening. Whatever happened to the Internet’s ability to survive such catastrophes as nuclear attacks?

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